LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The former LMPD officer who was fired following the deadly raid on Breonna Taylor’s apartment is named in an unrelated lawsuit accusing him of sexual assault.
Once Brett Hankison’s photo started appearing in stories about the Taylor shooting that made national headlines, several women came forward over the summer, accusing him of making unwanted sexual advances following nights out at a St. Matthews bar where he was working security.
But Tuesday brought the first sexual assault lawsuit related to those claims.
In the 24-page suit, a woman in her 20s alleges that after an evening drinking with friends at Tin Roof on Shelbyville Road, Hankison, in his LMPD uniform, offered her a ride home.
The lawsuit indicated the two had previously become acquainted at that bar and then later connected on social media.
The woman who filed the lawsuit was not the first to come forward over the summer, but once other women started sharing their stories on social media, she spoke up.
The lawsuit alleges that one night in 2018, Hankison gave the woman a ride to her apartment, then once she fell asleep, he went into her room and sexually assaulted her.
“(The alleged victim) was physically injured, mentally horrified and remained in emotional duress over both the assault and the feeling that any efforts made to hold Officer Hankison accountable for his actions would backfire,” the lawsuit read.
The woman also claimed Hankison “messaged (her) later in the day to try and suggest that the two had engaged in consensual relations,” a move her lawyer said was “true to (Hankison’s) playbook.”
Since the first woman went public with her accusations in June, several others followed with similar accounts describing a “sexual predator” who preyed on “intoxicated” and/or “vulnerable” young women at closing time.
“Brett Hankison’s conduct was absolutely terrible,” attorney Sam Aguiar said. “What’s just as terrible is how protected he was within the department. The man ruined lives for years and was never held accountable.”
The suit names several other LMPD officers, including former Chief Steve Conrad. It claims Hankison had a pattern of “red flagged conduct” that LMPD continuously overlooked, including two Public Integrity Unit investigations involving allegations of sexual misconduct and more than 50 internal incident reports surrounding actions for which he was never disciplined.
“We’re looking forward to the discovery in this case in order to hear explanations as to why this man and others were protected all the way up the ladder for so long," Aguiar said. “Hopefully the message will be sent that there will be accountability each and every time these officers use their uniform and badge to abuse women.”
When reached for comment Tuesday, Cincinnati-based attorney Stew Mathews, who represents Hankison in the Taylor case, said he had just learned about the lawsuit at about 4:30 p.m., adding that he’s not representing Hankison in the sexual assault case.
An LMPD spokesperson issued the following statement to WAVE 3 News:
“We are unable to speak publicly on matters before the court and must cite pending litigation as our reason for not commenting further.”
Tin Roof, also named in the lawsuit, released the following statement Wednesday morning:
“We are aware of the allegations made against LMPD officer, Brett Hankison who was a part of a rotating pool of off-duty police officers providing uniformed, off duty late night service to the St. Matthews area. We feel there is an obligation to provide a safe environment for guests as they enter and exit the venue and would never deliberately put the safety of our patrons at risk especially by those contracted to serve and protect. We terminated our relationship with Officer Hankison in the spring and currently use internal security staff only. We find the allegations to be reprehensible, and our company does not tolerate abuse of power or discrimination in any form.”